Rumpole: Law versus justice !!

My favourite fictive barrister, Horace Rumpole, can be seen and more importantly heard in this video, giving a most profound speech to the British jury about the Law versus morale justice.

What a delight to be able to watch this free on YouTube!

Especially now that the lovable and talented author of this hero of mine, John Mortimer, has passed away last year and therefore, we will have to cherish this treasure chest of Rumpole stories he created.

What a relief to hear someone with the courage to make a stand against the establishment. Hear, hear!
So watch and enjoy I would say.

See my transcript of his speech below, I have given a few synonyms or explanations of words in red in brackets.

For further explanations of unknown words, go to by Farlex.

If you are a Rumpole fan like I am, then here’s a fun quiz to do.

A big thank you to my great lawyer friend and fellow Rumpole fan who spotted this and sent it to me over the weekend.

Transcript of Rumpole’s speech


“Ladies and gentlemen of the jury,

Miss Mary Skelton (not sure about the name) , the cashier, was in love.

She was in love with her boss, that larger than life cook and character Jean-Pierre Aulegins (again not sure about the name, sorry).

People do many things for love. They commit suicide, they leave home, sometimes they simply pine away. (to pine away=to become very sad and weak as a result of a loss you feel)

It was for love that Miss Mary Skelton caused a life mouse to be served up at the Maison Jean-Pierre after having paid the station waiter a considerable sum to perform the trick.

She it was that wanted to ruin the restaurant so that my client’s vengeful wife, Siobhan, should get nothing out of it.”

Judge: “Mr Rumpole!”

Rumpole: “ But I deny you nothing of this dire (=dreadful, terrible) plot, he was entirely innocent.(entirely=completely) “

“Mr Rumpole! If a restaurant serves unhygienic food, the proprietor (=owner) is guilty, in Law!”

Rumpole: “You are not concerned with the law, members of the jury, you are concerned with justice!”

Judge: “That is a quite outrageous (=shocking and unacceptable) thing to say! On the admitted facts of this case Mr Aulegins is clearly guilty!”

Rumpole: “No British judge has the power to direct a British jury to find a defendant guilty!” (defendant = person in a trial of Law who is accused of committing a crime or who is being sued by another person)

Judge: “I warn you, Mr Rumpole, I shall tell the jury that he is guilty in Law!”

Rumpole: “His Honour may tell you that to his heart’s content, what you do, members of the jury, is a matter between God and your consciences (=moral senses)! Can you in all conscience find a man guilty and condemn (=sentence, say what punishment will be) him to ruin, when he was as free of criminal intent and conspiracy (=plot, secret plan) as the innocent little mouse itself? Can any of you! Can you!?”

The facts of the matter in this case are in your hands and your hands alone, members of the jury. My task is done. The future of that great maitre-de-cuisine, Jean-Pierre Aulegins, is in your hands and your hands alone.”


One response to “Rumpole: Law versus justice !!

  1. thats actually quite cool